Post-Stroke Speech Problems Inflate Cost of Treatment

US Health News  (HealthDay News) – THURSDAY, Feb. 16, 2012.

Average medical costs for a stroke patient with language impairment (aphasia) are more than $1,700 higher in the first year after stroke than for a patient without aphasia, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed the medical records of 3,200 Medicare patients in South Carolina who had an ischemic (blocked blood flow to the brain) stroke in 2004. They found that 12 percent of them had trouble speaking because of the stroke.

Help in regaining lost speech drive up medical bills, the researchers found. Medicare payments averaged over $20,700 for those with aphasia compared to about $18,700 for those without these language difficulties, an 8.5 percent difference.

The researchers also found that patients with aphasia were older and suffered more severe strokes, stayed in health care facilities 6.5 percent longer than those without impaired language, and had higher rates of illness and death. Read Full Article